10 Women in Israel Detained for Wearing Prayer Shawls

One is Sarah Silverman's sister
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2013 9:15 AM CST
Wrapped in Jewish prayer shawls, Rabbi Susan Silverman, second left, along with her daughter Hallel Abramowitz, second right, are detained by police officers in Jerusalem's Old City, Feb. 11, 2013.   (AP Photo/Tali Mayer)

(Newser) – Ten women, one the sister of comedian Sarah Silverman, were detained today for wearing prayer shawls at a holy site in Israel. The Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City is under Orthodox ritual law, which only allows men to wear prayer shawls, Reuters reports. Susan Silverman was there as part of "Women of the Wall," a group campaigning for gender equality in religion. "They [police] said 'take off your prayer shawls', and we said 'no,'" and were escorted away after prayers ended, Silverman says.

She says the law banning women from wearing prayer shawls is like "spitting on Sinai," the site where Moses is said to have received the 10 Commandments. "All Jews are in a covenant with God," she says, both male and female. Susan Silverman is a reform rabbi who immigrated to Israel from Boston. Her 17-year-old daughter was detained with her.

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